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First Rule Of Leadership – Don’t Just Stand There, Lean On The Shoulder!


Motivation is everything. You can do the work of two people, but you can’t be two people. Instead, you have to inspire the next guy down the line and get him to inspire his people.
Lee Iacocca


The Difference Between Management and Leadership – A Brief Explanation

Give a man a fish and you will feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you will feed him for a lifetime.

When dealing with leadership and management, people tend to mingle these two terms and think about them as being the same thing. According to mainstream definitions, to lead means to guide, while to manage means to control.

Do you feel the difference? Guiding versus controlling, showing a way versus being in charge and setting tasks – if you asked me, I believe leadership goes hand in hand with collaboration, working side by side, inspiration, guidance, growth and development. Long story short, a great leader teaches a man how to fish.


Jim Collins and His Level 5 Leaders

I came across Jim Collins’s level 5 leader, in his book, Good to Great and it kinda caught my eyes. According to him, when it comes to leadership there’s a level 5 hierarchy of executive capabilities (with Level 5 at the top) and it goes like this:


Level 1 – Highly Capable Individuals – make productive contributions via their talent, skills, work habits and knowledge;


Level 2 – Contributing Team Members – are responsible for individual capabilities and work effectively with others in a group setting;


Level 3 – Competent Managers – organize people and resources towards the effective and efficient pursuit of predetermined objectives;


Level 4 – Effective Leaders – catalyze commitment and stimulate higher performance standards;


Level 5 – Executive – build enduring greatness through a paradoxical blend of personal humility and professional will.


Level 5 leaders want to see the company even more successful in the next generation, comfortable with the idea that most people won’t even know that the roots of that success trace back to their efforts.

From a professional point of view, a level 5 leader looks in the mirror not out the window, to apportion responsibility for poor results, never blaming other people, external factors or bad luck.

From a more personal perspective, a level 5 leader looks out the window, not in the mirror, to apportion credit for the success of the company – to other people, external factors and good luck.

What Is Like To Be a Leader?

In my opinion, the ideal leader proves through his deeds that he or she possesses a paradoxical mixture of professional and personal modesty and courage.

After all, if I come to think about it, each and every one of us embraces the role of a leader from once in a while when dealing with our family and our children, our friends and work colleagues – calling the shots doesn’t mean controlling and reigning over.

It means being there, encouraging and teaching others, and most important: inspiring them to become always better and better. Sometimes one has to let the ego fade away and help other people become more valuable in their own eyes.

You know you did a great job when your cause is carried on by people you guided to become better. Even better than you.

But you see, being a leader at your workplace is no easy task. Your competencies and skills should and must be complemented by a compelling charm and strength of character that can inspire devotion in others.

Leadership – Don’t Just Stand There, Lean On The Shoulder!

When embarking on this journey of leadership, a person most certainly can become a source of inspiration for others and can get closer to the ideal expressed above.

I believe there are two main types of leadership in this world:

  • Shoulder-to-shoulder leadership – it is about those who work side by side with their colleagues and see their job as being more of a teamwork;

  • Over-shoulder leadership – those who support, who hold up a structure, defend and take care of their team.
    Both types involve proximity and investment power (FYI, the shoulder is the symbol of power). They just have different shades: working together or working on your own with the guidance of somebody who knows better and want you to become your better, improved self – pick your favorite daily grind.

    Maybe a great leader is that person who mixes these two types – leadership becomes art when it’s oriented towards a certain field of activity and involves everybody in the direction of a greater good and mutual purpose.


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